PEX Jargon: 10 words and phrases we love to hate

Tags: jargon

Every industry has its own particular jargon and terminology that can baffle and befuddle outsiders. Whether you love it or hate it, here are a few of the terms that often pop up in process excellence that even process initiates love to hate:

#1: Anything Japanese

When Lean and Six Sigma came to the fore in the 1980’s, the world was in the love with the Japanese economy. As a consequence process people all love to kaizen a poke-yoke to remove as much muda as possible…but you might be stripped of your black belt if your speech borrows too much from the far East when you’re speaking to your CEO!

#2: "End to end"

This is the holy grail of process improvement if only we could figure out where one end starts starts and the other finishes. But it’s probably best to leave it intentionally vague so those we’re talking to don’t really know we’re not even sure ourselves…

#3: "Leverage"

We like to leverage just about everything we can in business because it makes us sound really, really clever. We leverage talent. We leverage momentum. We leverage capital. It’s a great word as it sounds like an end unto itself so people usually don’t ask questions about how we intend to leverage the things we plan to leverage.

#4: "Thinking out of the box"

Seriously, does anyone still use this phrase? Allegedly, this is an expression that management consultants started using in the 1970s and 1980s to encourage their clients to think differently and we think it should be consigned to those eras along with disco balls, polyester pantsuits, big hair and legwarmers. Just think. Period.

#5: "Pick the low hanging fruit "

Unless you work in the orchard business, this is one seriously overused expression to describe fixing the easy and obvious problems. Let’s work on coming up with something a little more original, shall we?

#6: "Business user"

They’re people, darnit. Treat them as such.

#7: "The Business"

Aren’t you part of this thing too?

#8: Acronyms

Take your pick…process excellence is full three, four and even five letter acronyms. Whether you might want to use a FMEA before you start your DMAIC or DMADV process is entirely up to you, but these can be useful prerequisites to doing any sort of process initiative whether underpinned by LSS, BPM, TQM, or SPC…

#9: "Use Case"

Did you really mean to say example? Why not just say it? There…that wasn’t so hard, was it?

#10: "In today’s fast-paced business environment…"

Yawn. How many times have you heard this one? John Norcross, Vice President of Evolve Partners proposed that anybody who begins a book in this way should be dismissed as a "charlatan".

Thanks to all those who contributed to the LinkedIn discussion on this topic (see other suggestions from the community or add your own here)! But what do our readers think? What business and process jargon do you think should be avoided?